Connecting with the Classroom
As Dr. Callison writes in A Guide to Teaching Information Literacy, "the school media center is a place where student's may explore more fully classroom subjects . . . " (p.19) and I am so glad I now understand how I can help those students when they come searching for answers to not just their classroom assignment, but to analyzing how to go through the steps of information inquiry. I will also be able to let them know that there are stages to their information inquiry that include apprehension regarding their search, and fear and doubt about the material, to the stage where it all comes in focus and that these emotions are all expected and normal. (Kuhlthau, Carol. Teaching the Library Research Process.) As a support to the teacher, I would hope to collaborate with each on their chosen curriculum and have models like Lambs 8W's or the Big6 to give the teachers and their students to help them to brainstorm their topics.
My project involved putting information into the form of a brochure. I think a teacher could use this in place of any task that requires a report and it can be created on a computer or simply by the student designing with crayons and pencil. One content area in particular would be Social Studies for the 3rd grade, Indiana Academic Standard 3.2.6 Discuss and explain the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. Explain other ways citizens can affirm citzenship. The students could create a brochure and make drawings that explain the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. The teacher could post all of the brochures and get all the students involved in a discussion of how different people view their personal aspect of citizenship as illustrated by their own brochures.
Another classroom area where a brochure could capture the information details commonly found in a report would be the Science Class, in this case a 10th grade class room and Indiana Standard ES.1.21 Identify the various processes that are involved in the water cycle. Having each student design a brochure showing the processes of the water cycle would not only be constructive learning but would aid in retention of the information instead of memorization of information to be forgotten later. The student would have to fulling understand the concepts to put the different stages into the brochure correctly and by illustrating the brochure they would be reviewing the information for further knowledge.
The format of a brochure would also meets the 3rd Standard of AASL The Student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively and fulfills all 4 indicators:
Organize, implement, apply and produce. Creating a brochure is a creative way of expressing information literacy and the student gets immediate gratification when the project is complete. They can see their work and evaluate it themselves. They know whether they met the requirements; they know if their brochure is organized. They immediately gain knowledge and they use their critical thinking skills to design and layout the brochure. Including graphics or their own drawings lends to the creative skills allowing them to produce and communicate their ideas in a format for anyone to understand.
I had always thought of a brochure as a tool for marketing, but I now see that students can use it as a learning tool. I think it has helped me to see beyond the scope of all research as being in term paper form and I am challenging myself to look at other options for communicating my ideas.
I can definitely say I have enjoyed the blogging component of this exercise and will use it again. I also want to move into webquests and web pages and see how I can make those useful for the classroom.